strike meeting

It was surprisingly low key, even though this was a relative victory for the writers. The final meeting in 1988 was much more boisterous, and that was in the face of a clear loss. And I can’t help thinking it’s because of the attitude of our leadership.

There wasn’t a sign pointing upstairs saying “WGA VIPs”–as there was at the Convention Center at the start of the strike–but these guys still seem determined to somehow place themselves above the membership. It’s petty and it’s irritating.

After we’d all gathered in the Shrine Auditorium, the negotiating committee took the stage, to a nice round of applause. This was when the pressure began to make every ovation a standing ovation.

I noticed five empty seats at the front of the stage. They’ve given themselves a separate entrance, I said to the writer next to me. He didn’t hear me. They’ve given themselves a separate entrance, I hissed. They’ve engineered their own ovation!

The writer had a sudden moment of recognition. What I said had the ring of truth. Would he ever again be a true union man? But I like to think I better prepared him for what happened next.

WGA President Pat Verrone, negotiating committee chairman John Bowman, chief negotiator David Young, and a couple “WGA VIPs” entered, to another standing ovation. In the course of the evening, they introduced each other in every possible permutation (five factorial?). Signs outside told us no food or beverages were allowed inside the auditorium but everyone on stage had been provided with a bottle of water. John Bowman had three.

After the applause died down, David Young explained the terms of the deal, addressing us as “brothers and sisters.” When Shield creator Shawn Ryan arrived late and took his rightful place on the stage and another member of the committee stood to greet him with a special handshake, I could have sworn they expected to hear some clapping, but for some reason that’s where we decided to draw the line.

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